(18781965). Jewish religious thinker; national universalist. B. Vienna; spent most of first 14 yrs. in Poland with grandfather, Salomon Buber, outstanding Haskalah* student; educ. secondary school in Lvov and univs. of Vienna and Berlin. Prof. U. of Frankfurt 192333, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem 193851. Early in life participated in Zionist movement and regarded founding of political state as phase of Jewish Renaissance; influenced by H. Cohen*, G. Landauer*, G. Simmel*, W. Dilthey*, Nietzsche*, Kierkegaard*, Dostoevski*, Oriental philosophers.
Withdrew from writing and lecturing 1904 to devote 5 yrs. to study of Hasidism.* Thereafter strongly influenced by Kierkegaard, whose existentialism he modified in direction of Hasidism. Rejected mysticism as delusion; replaced earlier emphasis on unity by stress on diversity.
His mature philos, is in I and Thou (1923), which emphasizes relationship as central meaning of existence. There are 2 primary attitudes: I-It attitude (subject-object) objectifies experience and is never spoken with whole being; I-Thou attitude (subject-subject) is best seen in dialogue between 2 persons but also takes place with nature. God, the eternal Thou, is supreme partner of dialogue and underlying power in all other I-Thou encounters. Man relates to God with basic drives (hunger, sex, will) and institutions (politics, economics) that comprise material of his existence.
Buber often spoke of his own involvement with character of Jesus of Nazareth, whom he called my great brother; endeavored to understand the impulses of His Jewish being; strove to recover Him for Judaism; regarded Him as the incomparably purest figure in the hist. of Jewish messianismbut not as the Messiah.
Works include I and Thou; Between Man and Man; Two Types of Faith; Origin and Meaning of Hasidism; Hasidism and Modern Man; Israel and Palestine; Israel and the World; Paths in Utopia; The Prophetic Faith; Moses. EL
See also I-It and I-Thou.
M. Friedman, Martin Buber: the Life of Dialogue (New York, 1960); M. L. Diamond, Martin Buber: Jewish Existentialist (New York, 1960); M. Buber, Werke, 3 vols. (Munich, 196263); H. v. Balthasar, Martin Buber and Christianity, tr. A. Dru (New York, 1961).
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